Columbia mayor explains why the city elected to ban guns at city-permitted events

Columbia mayor explains why the city elected to ban guns at city-permitted events

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – The City of Columbia will now ban open carry of firearms at city-permitted events like protests, festivals, and the popular Soda City Market on Main Street. This comes on the heels of an open carry law that went into effect last month in South Carolina, the 46th state to pass similar legislation. It allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry their firearms openly in public or while in their car. However, a subsection of the law allows for guns to be prohibited at certain events. The text of the Open Carry with Training Act reads, “a governing body of a county, municipality, or political subdivision may temporarily restrict the otherwise lawful open carrying of a firearm on public property when a governing body issues a permit to allow a public protest, rally, fair, parade, festival, or other organized event.” The Columbia City Council unanimously passed this measure at a meeting last week. Mayor Steve Benjamin says he views this ordinance through the lens of public safety. Because Columbia, as the state capital, hosts many social events and protects, often bringing large crowds, he felt it was important to pass this measure. “Right now we don’t need more guns, combined with drinking and events,” he said. “It just can turn into a really serious challenge for so many communities.” The mayor says he’s a responsible gun owner and supporter of Second Amendment rights but doesn’t see the benefit of people brandishing firearms in potentially crowded situations. […]

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